How To Submit Your Demo
You’ve just made your best record yet and would love to get it out there into the world. Although there are ways to go about releasing music yourself, you’d rather hit up that record label you’ve been a fan of for so long and sign with them. But how do you get in contact with them? And how do you increase your chances of getting signed? Read on, because this is where you’ll discover the dos and don’ts of sending your music to the record label you love. This is where you learn how to submit your demo…
If you've come to this page looking for a place to submit demo, you can find the "Drop Your Demo" button in the bottom-right of the screen. If you wish to get actual feedback on your demo instead, we highly suggest you check out Armada University's Guaranteed Demo Feedback feature. For the rest, please read on!
A FEW WORDS BEFORE WE START
Throughout the years, countless dance music producers have tried to get their music signed to their favorite record label. But in most of these cases, their songs didn’t even reach the ears of an A&R manager at all. We hear you thinking: “How is this even possible?” Bear with us as we explain.
Take into account that an A&R manager is already working full-time to ensure the success of his current artist roster. This leaves little time for actually listening to music from unknown artists, simply because there’s no guarantee that the effort put in will actually pay off. Now add to this the fact that record labels could be receiving over a hundred(!) demo submissions a day. See the problem?
The A&R managers have to comb through an endless list of demo submissions, knowing they only have time to listen to a handful of songs. They have to be extremely picky, and there’s only one thing they can base their first selection on: the first impression.
1. THE FIRST IMPRESSION
Many of you have never been in contact with the label’s A&R manager before, so you’ll have to make a very good first impression when sending him your music. For starters, you need to know where to send your hit-single-to-be and to whom.
Fire up that amazing tool called ‘the Internet’ and look up the label you’re interested in. A quick Google search should be able to do the trick. Once you’re on the right web page, you’ll find out how the label likes to receive all demos. In our case, we have a separate “Drop Your Demo” button in the bottom-right corner of every webpage for regular demos and a special online producer platform called ‘Armada University’ for when you want actual feedback on your demos.
These and several other methods are pretty straightforward, but a lot of labels still want all demos sent to them by e-mail. Apparently, that’s a tough one to get right. So let’s start by showing you what kind of e-mail demo submission will hurtyour chances of getting signed.
2. THE DON’TS WHEN SUBMITTING YOUR DEMO
Though anyone should be able to see why this is not the right way to submit your demo, you’d be surprised how many of these demo submissions labels still get. This person – let’s call him Mr. X – gave us a sterling example of a demo submission that WILL end up in an A&R manager’s trash can. Let’s go into detail and explain why this is not a good demo submission…
A. DO NOT attach your demo directly to the email
Just don’t, ok? It might seem wise to you at first and we get that. You’ve attached your demo directly to the e-mail because the A&R manager can immediately download the track and listen to it instantly. Music is available at the click of a button, with just a short period of downloading before the best song ever made can roar from the speakers. That’s perfect, right? Well… no…
Sorry to burst your bubble, but that won’t go down well. Some A&R managers may like the option of downloading a demo, but forcing it upon them is never a good idea. Whenever you attach audio files directly to the e-mail, it will only make the A&R manager’s e-mail account run out of disk space in no time. We wouldn’t want that, now would we?
B. DO NOT send unfinished work
In this specific case, the demo submission wasn’t even a finished piece of music. Let us address this problem by asking a question in return: how should an A&R manager judge your current level and potential based on a piece of audio that isn’t even in its final stages?
Make sure the record is completely finished and preferably mastered, not “still in need of minor tweaks”. And don’t submit any bootlegs or mashups either. All legal explanations aside, those productions simply can’t be released.
C. DO NOT underestimate – or overestimate – the importance of text
About anyone can tell you why that small bit of text accompanying the above demo submission is no good. Simply adding ‘Please Answer’ to your demo submission is the fastest way to get rejected or even ignored entirely. We get why text might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you send in your music, but it can actually make a difference.
Granted, not everyone has mastered the English language. But that doesn’t have to be a problem. If you think your English is far from adequate, you have two options. Either you do everything in your power to master the language, or you ask someone for help. Whichever way works for you, as long as what you write makes sense. Otherwise, you shouldn’t bother sending in a demo submission at all. Please have a look at the demo submission below. Do you feel the urge to listen to the music after reading it?
(NOTE: The first one to decipher this e-mail and post it in the comments below wins a cookie…)
3. THE DOS WHEN SUBMITTING YOUR DEMO
Now that we’ve gotten three don’ts out of the way, let’s focus on what you shoulddo. Let us start by telling you that not all demo submissions are as bad as in the above examples. Luckily, a lot of you understand the importance of making a good first impression. As did this guy…!
If you happen to recognize this e-mail as your own, thank you for presenting us with a great example of how a demo should be submitted. Let’s summarize…
A. File delivery via Private SoundCloud link + optional download
Out of all the available options, sending an e-mail to the suggested mail box with a private SoundCloud link is the best possible move by far. In short, the A&R Manager will be one click away from listening to your music. In addition, he’s able to check out some of your other works if he feels like it and his mail box doesn’t get jammed due to huge .wav files. PERFECT!
B. Short introduction and track description
The A&R manager doesn’t need to know the size of your pinky toe or how wide your nostrils are. A short introduction and some relevant information is all he needs. The introduction text should be short and include a few lines about:
- Any notable musical achievements so far;
- The track itself;
- Your style of music;
- Why you think this track suits the label.
If you can summarize this in less than ten sentences, you are good to go as far as text is concerned. If you still wish to write a novel regardless, you might just have to reconsider your current career choice.
C. Being kind and pleasant to work with
Keep in mind that A&R managers are human beings above all else. They can have good days and lousy days, just like everybody else. As much as rude emails could worsen their mood, a bit of gentleman-like behavior could brighten their day. Besides, you don’t want to come off as an arrogant or resentful person, now do you? A&R managers are dealing with their artists on a daily basis, so being difficult to work with won’t increase your odds of getting signed.
4. SOME FINAL WORDS
If you’ve made it this far, you now know how to submit your demo the right way.
Afraid your music isn’t yet good enough to get signed? We’ve got an online producer platform called ‘Armada University’, where you can watch in-depth music production masterclasses from our top artists across many genres and DAWs. There’s even the option of getting guaranteed demo feedback from Armada Music’s A&R team or entering remix contests, so you may want to check out the below button. Until then, keep creating amazing music!